All you need is love, greater love: Banbury's newest chamber ensemble’s message for its next event

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Banbury's newest chamber ensemble - 24 - is premiering Martin's Mass for double choir in St Mary's Church on Saturday October 28.

It is the first time this piece has been performed here, and it will be the centrepiece of an evening of choral pieces on a theme of beauty, loss, and love.

David Johnston, one of the choristers, said: "Obviously we had no idea that these songs would have such a profound relevance thrust upon them by recent events. The tragedy of yet another war is unbearable. But bear it we must, and at least in part, here's how...

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"We have been here before, and this is a distillation of dealing with love and loss through two and a half millennia: from ancient Greece to modern Switzerland, Armada Spain, English Civil Wars, WWII, and Vietnam, but also the simple personal trials of man’s inhumanity to man. It is at times like this that we need to find solace most.

24 on Beauty, Loss, and love24 on Beauty, Loss, and love
24 on Beauty, Loss, and love

"Frank Martin was a Swiss composer and his take on the mass was quite unique. It is deeply personal, stunning in its dynamic range, and achingly beautiful. Perhaps as a non-conformist tackling this text he takes it back to first principles. It is a rarely performed piece simply because it is technically very tough on the performers.

"A piece this beautiful would normally be much more visible, but it splits choirs into two and tests them against each other continually. The end result is an elegiac masterpiece that believers and non-believers alike can revel in."

24's concert also covers Dido's Lament after her betrayal in Carthage, Barbers’s Agnus Dei (popularised in Platoon), and some exquisite pieces from Tavener, namely the Song for Athene and his setting of the Exhortation. But it is also a concert aiming to lift hearts, from darkness. Betinis sees light behind clouds, Rossetti calls us to smile, and Walton sets you as a seal on the hearts of loved ones.

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"One of the most atmospheric pieces is also one of the shortest’, said David. "Julian Wachner’s Aaronic Blessing is over in a minute, but it lets you know that you are not alone; you are loved and someone has your back. It’s a simple and strong text for our times."

Doors open at 6.30pm and the concert ticket includes all refreshments for the evening (wine by Naked Wines). Tickets can be ordered via